First bluetongue virus serotype 3 vaccination to hit the market


The vaccine will protect cattle and sheep from BTV-3 against clinical signs and mortality



Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) announced that it has launched its adjuvanted with aluminum hydroxide and saponine vaccination (BULTAVO 3; Boehringer Ingelheim), making it the first bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) vaccination. The vaccination will prevent clinical signs and mortality in cattle and sheep.

BI, in partnership with Bioveta, a veterinary manufacturer with a focus on vaccinations, developed the vaccination and it will be available in BTV-3 affected countries beginning May 2024. According to an organizational release,1 the vaccination requires 2 intramuscular injections within 3 weeks apart for cattle and 1 subcutanous vaccination in sheep.

The BTV is a seasonal disease that primarily impacts ruminants that is transmitted by tiny inspects named Culicoides. The disease also tends to spike in the summer and fall seasons and has low incidences within the winter and spring. Clinical signs of BTV include the following, however according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection (APHIS), sheep are most likely to show symptoms while cattle are mostly asymptomatic:2,3

  • Nasal discharge
  • Swollen teats
  • Fever
  • Milk drop (in dairy cows)
  • Swelling of the head and neck
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Tiredness
  • Saliva drooling out of mouth
  • Abnormal wool growth
  • Severe swelling of the tongue that could be cyanotic, even protruding from the mouth

“We are glad to support farmers and authorities in their fight against bluetongue with our BTV-3 vaccine BULTAVO 3. In cooperation with our long-term partner Bioveta, we made it possible to have a very effective vaccine against serotype 3 on the market within a very short period of time. With BULTAVO 3, future BTV-3 outbreaks can be prevented, and farmers can protect not only their herds, but also their livelihoods,” said Gerald Behrens, global head of ruminants at Boehringer Ingelheim, in the release.1

Veterinarians who suspect their patients have BTV should collect whole blood from febrile animals as well as spleen and lymph nodes from any dead animals. Animals infected with BTV will develop a serologic response within 14 days after exposure and the antibodies that are circulating and remain lifelong. The whole blood is the best premortem sample as orbiviruses are associated with erythrocytes and for animals who are deceased, organs and tissues should be stored and transported for testing chilled, not frozen.2


  1. Boehringer Ingelheim launches vaccine against bluetongue virus serotype 3 in sheep and cattle. News release. May 13, 2024. Accessed May 30, 2024.
  2. Disease Alert: Bluetongue. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Accesed May 30, 2024.
  3. Bluetongue | AHDB. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Accessed May 30, 2024.
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